It didn’t take long to figure out the Falcons’ plan for Thursday night’s game against the Bengals.
They wanted to see their first team offense throw the ball and then they wanted to see them throw the ball some more. Atlanta called 23 passes against just four runs while Matt Ryan and the rest of the starters were in the game and we’re guessing the coaches liked what they saw.
Ryan completed 18-of-21 passes — he scrambled once and Terence Newman was flagged for pass interference on the other called pass — for 174 yards and a touchdown. The first 11 of those completions came in a row as the Falcons moved the ball fairly easily through the air. Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White all had big gainers against a Bengals defense that showed they were playing at well less than full strength after all of the injuries in the first preseason game.
Jones, in particular, had a strong performance and he looks like he’s on his way living up to the voluminous hype that’s accompanied him since the Falcons traded up to get him in last year’s draft. He’s got every skill you could want in a receiver and the presence of the two older targets means that defenses are going to be picking their poison against the Falcons this year.